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Robert Tamayo

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Duke Nukem Forever is Awesome

I've played 5 hours of Duke Nukem Forever so far...and the game is awesome.

I can't believe it received such horrible reviews when it was released in 2011. Not only does it hold up well to a brand new player more than 10 years later, it's actually a good game by today's standards.

Here's the positive:

1. Duke Nukem is Actually Fun to Play As


Most playable game characters fall into 2 categories. They are either intentionally bland so as let the player fill in the blanks with his own personality, or they are given a personality of their own. Duke Nukem has his own personality, and he is really fun to play as.

He's egocentric and unabashedly masculine. He loves women and women love him, a normal concept in real life that has been replaced in most pop culture with shy guys who need a push from the woman to start a romance. He loves guns, and isn't afraid to use them on the hostile aliens that are there to steal his favorite pleasure in life: hot babes. His luxurious tower is decorated with golden statues of women and portraits of himself in exotic locations. He even has an aquarium full of sharks!

Duke is the Alpha, a man who is always the center of attention. Everyone loves him. They cheer him on just for seeing him. But, just like the Alpha, he knows when it's time to do the work. When the aliens arrive, his luxurious tower is the first to be attacked. He must once again save the world, one one-liner at a time.

2. The One-Liners are Hilarious


The game is actually pretty funny. The whole premise is over-the-top, and Duke Nukem brings the spirit of the 80s and 90s action movies with him into this game. Some of my favorites so far:

Duke, upon being told that the aliens have not only kidnapped the women, but have taken over the Hoover Dam, threatening Earth's existence: "Screw the dam! Where are they taking our chicks?"
A glass case with a shotgun displayed inside, the glass reading: "In case of alien invasion, break glass."
Upon entering a room and seeing a huge alien with three boobs: "You make me wish I had three guns!"
A fellow marine runs out ahead of Duke, getting instantly killed at the start of a long mission: "Dammit, LeRoy!"

Beyond that, it's just hilarious listening to Duke while playing the game. You never know what he's going to say, but it's always worth it.

3. There is a Lot to Do Besides Shooting


The game isn't just about shooting. There are a ton of things to do. From lifting weights and pinball to puzzle-solving and platforming, this game is not the same as the hallway-shooters that dominated the console scene in the early 2010s.

Much like other games, health upgrades are hidden throughout the world. Only, in Duke Nukem Forever, the upgrades are rather unique: your health is your Ego, and the more you increase your Ego, the more health you have. You can increase your Ego in a number of ways. Lifting weights is one of them. Checking yourself out in the mirror is another ("Who's that handsome guy?"). I'm always on the lookout for anything that could boost Duke's Ego, and this mechanic has made health upgrades a rather humorous endeavor.

4. In 2022, There are No Loading Screens


The biggest complaint I've heard about the game was its loading screens. I braced myself for impact when I hit the first one. I pulled up some reading material to pass the time while I waited for the game, but when I looked at the screen, the game was waiting for me! It turns out that SSDs in 2022 have virtually solved the loading problem. The game loads almost instantly.

It's quite possible that the game would have been received better today. Although some people may claim that it's even more out of place in today's hypersensitive world, I say that that's what makes the game even more necessary for 2022. Duke Nukem Forever is the remedy we need for games being stifled by sensitivity to offense. Duke Nukem Forever gave the middle finger to the critics in 2011, and it's giving an even bigger middle finger to them in 2022. Just the fact that it still exists should drive them crazy. Any gamers who couldn't stand the loading screens in 2011 should fire it up and give it another shot - chances are they will be surprisingly refreshed by the game's unashamed masculinity, and they'll probably also be shocked at the variety of gameplay offered in a First Person Shooter compared to modern games in the genre.


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